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Published June 2023 | public
Journal Article

Payload concepts for investigations of electrostatic dust motion on the lunar surface


Significant experimental and computational investigations have explored the feasibility of electrostatically-motivated dust motion on the lunar surface. The motion of lunar dust influences our understanding of the evolution of the surface and may also present a hazard to future exploration vehicles and astronauts. The possibility of a sustained exploration presence on the lunar surface opens the door to long-term experiments on the lunar surface, akin to the science facilities on the International Space Station. We have identified four measurements/observations that would significantly advance our understanding of dust-plasma interactions on the lunar surface. In this context, we provide conceptual designs for payloads to obtain these observations: a Langmuir probe, dust deposit witness plate, regolith charge measurement instrument, and cameras to look for evidence of horizon glow. These payloads could deploy independently and sequentially, or together as a suite. The proposed payloads would provide key observations that would inform future modeling efforts and direct future in situ experiments to understand the dust-plasma environment, both for planetary science and spacecraft design applications.

Additional Information

© 2023 IAA. Published by Elsevier. This work was supported by the Biological and Physical Science Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate and by the Game Changing Development Program of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate through a contract with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

Additional details

August 22, 2023
October 20, 2023